(aka) Steel Magic
~ 1st Novel in the Magic Series by Andre Norton
(Series aka) The Magic Sequence
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Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~
The Lowery children - Greg, Eric, and Sara - are staying at Tern Manor with their Uncle Mac while their father and mother are in Japan. Sara wins a picnic basket at the Firemen's Strawberry Festival and the children decide to put it to use. The next day they pack a picnic lunch and search for a lost lake. After winding and crawling through the underbrush, they find the lake and, on as island in the middle of it, they also discover a miniature castle. Although the doorway has been blocked with masonry, they are able to gain entrance by chipping away the mortar. Once within the castle, they are surrounded by a gray mist and, eventually, they find themselves somewhere else. After a brief exploration, they determine that they could not be on the island and are far from any place familiar. Opening the picnic basket, they start to eat while discussing the strange events, whereupon an unexpected guest shows up for lunch.
Write-up from the back of the paperback edition of Steel Magic ~
Magic, Mystery, adventure!
An old abandoned castle! Sara, Eric, and Greg Lowery couldn’t wait to go exploring!
But the building was more than just ruins – it was a gateway to the wonderous land of Avalon – an enchanting world of legendary people and mystical magic, a land where even common objects had great power.
And once the children entered this magical world, it was impossible for them to escape – unless they complete an important mission: return three magic talismans to their owners – King Author’s sword Excalibur, Merlin’s iron ring and Huon’s silver horn.
But the mission was more dangerous than they imagined – the land and its creatures were strange to them… and a stainless steel knife, fork and spoon were their only weapons!
Write-up from a fan ~
This book is very short and is a quick read. Sara Lowry and her brothers Eric and Greg go on a picnic on their uncle's property and discover a secret hidden gate that transports them to the enchanted land of Avalon. They meet Huon of Bordeaux who explains the three magical objects, Merlin's ring, Huon's horn and Arthur Pendragon's sword Excalibur have all been stolen. They ask the kids to find them as they, being totally human, can handle "Cold Iron" or in this case Stainless Steel utensils from their picnic basket. They split up and each goes after one of the objects. They have all kinds of magical adventures which help each child overcome his or her fears and rise to the challenges of the quests. Aimed at the younger reader, it is still satisfying to the adult audience. ~ PG
Bibliography of English Editions ~
- (1967) Published by Scholastic Book Service, TP, # TX919, $0.50, 159pg ~ cover and illustrations by Robin Jacques
- The Magic Books (1988) Published by Signet, PB, 0-451-15232-8, $3.95, 383pg ~ cover by unknown ~ Omnibus containing Steel Magic (1965), Octagon Magic (1967) & Fur Magic (1968)